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In July I travelled to Samoa with Air New Zealand, flying into Apia on the new 787 Dreamliner. The seats were very comfy and spacious, and the inflight entertainment offered all the latest movies (I managed to squeeze in TWO!) and was definitely a good start to the holiday!

During my stay, I travelled across the majority of Upolu (main island), from as far as Lalomanu Beach on the South Coast, to Cape Fatusofia, the most Western point, visiting many of the resorts and beaches in between. Samoa offers a great range of accommodation options, from basic open beach fales to 4-5 star resorts.

The beaches on the south side of the island are beautiful, relaxing & quiet and definitely not as crowded as you may find on other tropical islands.

If however you're after more than just lazing on the beach in the sun, Samoa offers many other activities at the resorts that include bikes, kayaks and snorkelling. Or if you're after some exploring away from the resorts, options include fishing charters, round island tours, or for something a little bit different, a visit the To Sua Ocean Trench, a giant swimming hole, or the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, a natural waterslide.

Apia town offers a little bit of hustle and bustle in the form of the local markets, or for a history fix, visit to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. There's also a short hike available up Mount Vaea where Robert Louis Stevenson is buried that offers panoramic views over Apia.

We also went on a day trip to the island of Savai’i with a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. You genuinely feel like you're away from it all while enjoying its beautiful beaches and turquoise waters, local villages and culture. Plus, there's an opportunity to swim with the turtles and feed them! Travel to Savai’I is by local ferry several times a day - it's quite a nice picturesque trip, although I will add here that the ferries are old and can be noisy!

A great way to enjoy some local and cultural entertainment is to join one of the 'FiaFia’ night that most resorts offer. It's a great evening of live entertainment, traditional song and dance routines performed by locals in traditional costumes, spectacular fire dances and a buffet dinner with local dishes.

Samoa is a great place to explore beautiful beaches & culture and enjoy the relaxation that a tropical island can offer.

My picks for hotels:

4* to 5* in Apia –

Taumeasina Island Resort

3* to 4* across islands –

Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa

Fale on the beach

Litia Sini Beach Fales on beautiful Lalomanu Beach

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